Federation of Indian American Christian Organizations FIACONA
 Federation of Indian American Christian Organizations  FIACONA

STATEMENT

The Federation of Indian American Christian Organizations (FIACONA) welcomes the efforts of President Trump and Vice-President Pence to promote religious freedom around the world.

 

July 16, 2019. WASAHINGTON DC. FIACONA appreciates the efforts of Secretary Pompeo and Ambassador At Large Sam Brownback for hosting the second annual global conference of Foreign Ministers in Washington from July 16 - 18, 2019 to advance religious freedom around the world.


While FIACONA is greatly appreciative of the commitment the Administration has for the rights of the people to practice religious faiths without interference from state or non-state actors, we are disappointed that one of the largest violator of religious freedom in the world by sheer number of harassment and intimidation, India, is not on the published agenda of the conference. India's ruling Hindu nationalist party is known to have been behind most violent acts against Christians and other religious minorities including the Dalits.

 

Though FIACONA understands the compulsions due to short term strategic and business interests for their various decisions, FIACONA is also of the opinion that ignoring classical signs of an emerging threat in an otherwise vibrant society, would cause, in the long run, tremendous damage not only to the 2000 year old church in India but also to the U.S. – India relationship besides the U.S. interests in the Indian Ocean corridor. Internal turmoil and civil strife in India could adversely affect regional stability and security interests.


Further, it is important for the U.S. to remain and be seen as an honest advocate for the cause rather than being seen as a force that is pliable.

 

Leaving any room for some countries to believe that the U.S. could be kept quiet about their actions for short-term considerations, could seriously undermine the impact the U.S. can have globally on this issue. The U.S. thus stands to erode its credibility for selectively picking and choosing the countries on which to focus.


Nevertheless, FIACONA enthusiastically applauds the thoughts and efforts of Ambassador Brownback's team in organizing this global meet. It is rightfully billed as the largest ever conference to discuss religious freedom in the world and we are grateful for that.  We hope, one day this conference would include all regions of the world wherever freedom of religious and ethnic communities are threatened.

 

Latest News

'Hindu nationalists accuse Christian missionaries over 1,800 conversions in Gujarat in five years.

July 4, Asia News

At least 1,838 people changed religion in the last five years in Gujarat, this according to data released by state authorities. Of these, 1,735 were Hindus.
Faced with these numbers, the president of a far-right Hindu nationalist group blamed Christian missionaries. "Christian missionaries are converting Hindus in the name of social services .....,” said Dilip Trivedi, president of the Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP) in North Gujarat...

Indian bishops seek to postpone polling on Maundy Thursday.

June 30, Matters India

A Catholic family in Jharkhand is awaiting justice for a tribal man, who was lynched by cow vigilantes in the eastern Indian state nearly two years ago, a lay leader says.
The death of Ramesh Minj “did not enter the discourse of persecution of Christians,” bemoans John Dayal, general secretary of the All India Christian Council and president of the All India Catholic Union. “Christian NGOs were not involved.” ......

Christian Families Going Hungry as Villagers in India Deprive Them of Work, Homes Grain thrown out; buying and selling denied.

June 10Morningstar News

Christians in various villages of Chhattisgarh state, India are going hungry as members of tribal religions deprive them of work and refuse to sell food to them, sources said. In the southern tip of Chhattisgarh state, villagers attacked the homes of three Christian families in Bodiguda village, Sukma District on May 23, leaving 25 people homeless, including four infants.....

Latest News

Indian Officials Demolish Christian School, Hostel – and Founder’s Home – in Eastern India. Demolition crew beats director and his parents.

June 6 Morningstar News

Authorities seized 12 tearful, fatherless children from a Christian ministry in eastern India last month after local officials demolished the ministry’s school and hostel. After Hindu extremists persuaded the district revenue officer (collector) to demolish the hostel and school serving 250 students, child protection personnel and police on May 21 seized the six orphans and six other children whose fathers were killed by communist guerrillas known as Naxalites....

Ruben, a nine-year-old boy, was arrested, stripped, beaten and held in prison for three days when he was six only because he is a Christian

June 4 Asia News

Both his parents are blind and his father is a Christian pastor in Madhya Pradesh. The child is their eyes and hands, helping them out at home, helping them walk and move around.

In January 2016 the child, his parents and the tiny Christian community of Dehar, a settlement with only 12 residents, were attacked by an angry mob that devastated their place of worship. After the assault, all members of the community were ....

Australian Missionary Graham Stain's killer now appointed by  Modi in his new cabinet

June 3 BBC

He was the leader of the Bajrang Dal, a hardline rightwing group, when a Hindu mob brutally killed Australian Christian missionary Graham Staines and his two children in 1999.
Christian community leaders accused the Bajrang Dal of the killings, but an official inquiry found no evidence that any one group was behind the attack.
After a lengthy trial, Dara Singh, a man with links to the group, and 12 others were convicted in 2003. But the high court in Orissa commuted a death sentence for Singh ...

 

STATEMENT

 

FIACONA is Deeply Concerned About the Election Results in India

 

MAY 24, 2019, WASHINGTON, D.C. The Federation of Indian American Christian Organizations (FIACONA) is deeply concerned about the future of Indian Christians and the future of Indian democracy in the wake of just concluded national elections.

 

In a world that is getting more and more polarized on religious grounds, the return to power of a Hindu extremist party is not surprising.

 

Though all Hindu voters did not vote for extremist views of the Hindu party, many have. The assertion of extremist Hindus to claim a multi religious, multi-cultural and multi-linguistic country like the Union of India to their view of exclusive Hindu ideology is certainly troubling. Now this election has further deepened that to a crisis level.

 

Though, there are several reliable reports about rigging and large-scale voter fraud combined with voter suppression not to mention the "malfunctioning" of Electronic Voting Machines, EVMs, in many parts of the country during the elections, for a student of Indian electorate, the margin with which the Hindu party is claiming victory seem very suspicious. (Interstingly, the "malfunctioning" EVM machines tallies votes only to the Hindu nationalist BJP party in every instance)

 

The fact that the BJP Hindu party and Prime Minister Modi’s appeal failed in states like Tamil Nadu and Kerala shows that the level of cooperation and support needed from election officials to use the "malfunctioning" EVMs was not forthcoming easily in all states.

 

It is our firm belief that the political landscape of the country does not allow such margin of votes in an honest and transparent election.

 

We urge the world leaders to be cautious in their endorsement of the extremist Hindu ideology. A full endorsement of Modi's claim to victory will jeopardize the future of almost 2000 year old church in India and will also cause tremendous disruption to the Unity of India as a one nation state envisioned by Mahatma Gandhi.

While we are concerned for the future of the church in India we are also concerned about the very survival of the Constitution of the Republic that guarantees equality and freedom of religion, expression and association to every citizen. Under a new “Hindu Constitution” which Modi and his party wants to implement, all these freedoms we take for granted may not exist. The BJP and Mr. Modi needed a two third majority in the Parliament in their scheme to replace the Consitution. They do have that strength in the Parliament now. Other requirements to change the Constitution are already in place.

All 600,000 Indian American Christians have strong ties to their mother churches back in India. Besides that, almost all mainstream and independent churches in the United states have close ties to this 2000 year old church. An assault on the rights and independence of the church in India by the Hindu nationalist government headed by Modi and his gang would have direct and negative impact across Christendom and particularly among the Evangelical, Catholic and Protestant populations in the United States. 

We continue to urge President Trump to re-asses his misplaced endorsement of Modi and his government.

 

For Press Inquiries please call

202-738-4704 or email to: john@fiacona.org

Latest News

Fire at Historic Church Building on Easter Sunday. Police advise pastor to avoid mentioning fire in complaint.

May 8 Morningstar News

Opening the door of the historic church building in Arrah, in Bihar state’s Bhojpur District, on Easter Sunday (April 21), Pastor Anil Juit found a gaping hole in the back wall, and everything inside had been gathered up and burned in a heap, he said....As he made his way out at the end of the service, Pastor Juit noticed that someone had written “Jai Sri Ram [Hail, lord Ram]” on the outside wall of the church building. “It is evident from the slogan that this is the work of some Hindu radicals,” he told ...

Village leaders in eastern India prohibited five Christian families from working on their farms or walking on the main road

May 22 Morningstar News

Leaders of Banhardi village, in Jharkhand state’s Latehar District, told the five families in April to either convert back to their ancestral Sarna religion or face punishment, Christian leaders said. When the Christians refused to renounce their faith, the village on April 10 issued a decree instructing that their farmland be confiscated and prohibiting them from interacting with anyone, fetching water and buying or selling, they said.

Before district officials ..

Kandhamal Christian freed on bail after 10 years in prison

May 22 Worldwatch Monitor

Gornath Chalanseth, one of seven Christians jailed for life for the murder of a Hindu swami in the Kandhamal district of Odisha state in eastern India, has been freed on bail by India’s Supreme Court yesterday, May 21.

The seven – three of whom are Dalits, the other four tribals – continue to maintain their innocence. However, only Chalanseth’s bail application was filed in the Supreme Court – after Odisha High Court had rejected it for a second time last December. Once given bail, there is no  ....

Latest News

Lynching of a Christian in the state of Jarkhand: Fact Finding team Questions Role of Police

April 18 Matters India

A fact-finding team that probed the lynching of Christian Adivasis in the eastern Indian state of Jharkhand has questioned the local police’s inaction and opposition parties’ silence. “The actions of the local police raise several questions. While the victims kept saying that they were carving an ox that had died, the police filed an FIR against them and 20-25 unnamed persons of their village on charges of cow slaughter,” says a statement from the Jharkhand Janadhikar Mahasabha (grand council of Jharkhand people’s right) .......

Mumbai High Court ordered two Indian Union territories to restore Good Friday,  as a public holiday.

April 16, Asia News

The sentence was issued yesterday, after a few weeks of delay. The judges who dealt with the case are the president of the tribunal Pradeep Nandrajog and N.M. Jamdar. They accepted the petition presented by Mr. Anthony Francisco Duarte of Moti Daman, representing the Indian Church and the archdiocese of Goa and Daman. The defense of Christians was instead taken by Dr. Haresh Jagtiani, lawyer of the ADF India association (Alliance Defending.....

Food Deprivation, Beatings and Jail as Christians Suffer in Jharkhand, India Hindu extremists influence those who practice tribal religion.

Apr 11 Morningstar News

A longstanding Hindu extremist practice of turning animistic villagers against Christians has intensified as elections get underway in India today, with tribal villagers taught that Christianity is anti-Indian. Upset about tribal Adivasi relatives leaving the animistic Sarna religion to become Christians, 60-year-old Sanpitha Majhi attacked a 28-year-old Christian mother he believed had “forcefully converted” his daughter and son-in-law in eastern India’s ” ...

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